Thursday, January 17, 2008

Welcome! We've been waiting for you.

A mysterious post card arrived in the mail!
What is this Art's Birthday that keeps getting mentioned?
Read on...

If you received a mysterious post card in the mail, it was part of a mail art project, in Mississauga, celebrating Art's Birthday.

What is mail art?

Mail art is art which uses the postal system as a medium. The term mail art can refer to an individual message, the medium through which it is sent, and an artistic genre. Mail art is also known as postal art and is sometimes referred to as Correspondence/Mail Art.
Mail artists typically exchange ephemera in the form of illustrated letters, zines, rubberstamped, decorated, or illustrated envelopes, artist trading cards, postcards, artist stamps, faux postage, mail interviews, naked mail, friendship books, decos, and three-dimensional objects.

An amorphous international mail art network, involving thousands of participants in over fifty countries, evolved between the 1950s and the 1990s It was influenced by other movements, including Dada and Fluxus.

One theme in mail art is that of commerce-free exchange; early mail art was, in part, a snub of gallery art, juried shows, and exclusivity in art. A saying in the mail art movement is "senders receive," meaning that one must not expect mail art to be sent to them unless they are also actively participating in the movement.

To find out more about mail art visit:

What is Art's Birthday? Read the post below....

Monday, January 7, 2008

What is Art's Birthday?

Art's Birthday is January 17th
What is Art's Birthday?In 1963, French artist, Robert Filliou declared "One million years ago, on January 17, Art was born...when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. Modest beginnings, but look at us now. Close the schools and the factories! Let them eat cake and make art! And the next year let it be two days of holiday, then three days, then four, five, six and so on, until everyday is art's birthday, at which point we can all get on with life".

The point Filliou was making concerns the making of art as an everyday activity accessible to everyone, not a rarefied object.

Since then, a loose network of artists and organizations has celebrated Art's Birthday honouring the Fluxus spirit of art being made not to be bought, sold or traded as a commodity, but given "freely" as a gift.

How does Mississauga celebrate Art's Birthday?

Art's Birthday - A celebration of art
Thursday, January 17, 2008
2 to 10 p.m.
Great Hall & Art Gallery of Mississauga
Mississauga Civic Centre
300 City Centre Drive

Performances & Telecommunications
Roving reporter Darla Kitty (aka Halifax sound artist Eleanor King) keeps everyone abreast of happenings throughout the day, including radio on the ice rink and Internet streams from around the world.
I Want to be a Radio Announcer: A chance to experiment with the medium of radio.
Mississauga Sound Map: A sonic journey through the city of Mississauga,
Art Gallery of Mississauga: What’s a birthday without a birthday card? Create your own postcard and mail it on-site then celebrate by making your own commemorative button.

View a screening of Robert Filliou’s work.

Gallery on Call, 905-615-3200 ext. 4707: Learn about the history of Art’s Birthday by calling into the gallery. Gallery On Call is a voice-messaging system functioning as an audio guide and extended programming to the Art Gallery of Mississauga’s exhibitions. Five minutes in length, the recordings provide information by bringing in new voices from the community to author interpretive resources.

2 – 2:30 p.m.
Tetsuo Kogawa, live from Japan via Radio Kinesonus, battles with Halifax audio artist Stephen Kelly on-site in a radio transmission race.

2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Sound artists Eleanor King and Stephen Kelly
put the sounds of the Civic Centre, inside and out, under sonic microscope.

3:30 p.m.
Youth Troopers for Global Awareness
The body makes pictures and sound. This theatre troupe introduces the art of tableau accompanied by rhythm of spoken word.

3:45 p.m.
Mississauga Sound Map Unveiling
Mississauga residents and visitors were invited to contribute sound recordings of places in Mississauga that were meaningful or intriguing to them. To contribute more recordings to this map, Contact:

4 p.m.
Mississauga Children’s Choir composes their own Happy Birthday song on the spot, conducted by vocalist Christine Duncan.

4:15 p.m.
Birthday Cake
Sound artist Rob Cruikshank
provides the icing with portable NAISAtrons (sound art objects).

4:30 p.m.

Energetic krumping dance is wired for sound.

5 p.m.
Tour the Mississauga Civic Centre with your eyes closed. In a soundwalk, the listening “audience” moves through a place and the environment “performs.” In a soundwalk, time is taken to hear the environment. Every soundwalk is a unique listening experience.

5 - 7 p.m.
New Adventures in Sound Art
scans the globe for Art’s Birthday radio art including Internet streams from Kunstradio, Vienna.

7- 10 p.m.
Comedian Matt. Miller
hosts and evening of music by Mississauga DJ Kurtis Lewis and turntablist Mike Hansen who will spin to the theme of Forever Young with cameo appearances by Back2Basics dance troupe and other surprise guests.

Presented by the Mississauga Office of Arts and Culture and New Adventures in Sound Art in partnership with the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Canadian Association for Sound Ecology and in conjunction with Kunstradio - Vienna, Western Front – Vancouver, and Radio Kinesonus – Japan. Many thanks to CKLN Toronto for their sponsorship and broadcast of Art’s Birthday.
The Mississauga Office of Arts and Culture positions itself on the cusp of arts, culture, technology, architecture and urban design. It will play an integral and strategic role in the growth plan of the city for the 21st century. For further information go to
New Adventures in Sound Art is a non-profit organization that produces performances and installations spanning the entire spectrum of electroacoustic and experimental sound art. For more information go to

FREE bus transportation from downtown Toronto – Gladstone Hotel 2 p.m. with 4:30 p.m. return, and 7 p.m. with 10 p.m. return. BY RESERVATION ONLY RSVP 905-615-3200 ext 4065 or

is pure Mississauga energy, from break dancing to krumping.

Darren Copeland is the artistic director of New Adventures in Sound Art. He is also a sound artist who has received international attention, including solo releases DVD-A Perdu et retrouvé and the CD release Rendu Visible on empreintes DIGITALes (
He has created work for many media: radio art, installation sound art, theatre, and concert music. Recent highlights include his radiophonic adaptation for ZKM of Berger Sellin's book ich will kein inmich mehr sein and his long distance cellphone collaboration with Annette Finnsdottir in Copenhagen for AGM.

A musical chameleon with a near five octave range, Christine Duncan has a repertoire that spans improvisation, opera, rhythm and blues, pop and folkloric music. She has collaborated with Bob Murphy, Hugh Fraser, Miles Black, Jean Martin,Veda Hille, Paul Plimley, Danielle Palardy Roger, Kenny Wheeler, Dave Young, P.J. Perry, Ray Charles, Linton Garner, Paul Horn, Jeff Healey, John Oswald, Paul Dutton, Nobuo Kabota and many others.

Mike Hansen is a Mississauga based artist, performer and radio personality and has been involved in the Canadian improvised music scene for over a decade. As a turntablist born out of the school of Marclay, Tetrault and Jeck, Hansen disembowels the turntable. Approaching the record player as an instrument, needles cut through vinyl as knives through butter. Records are being replaced by the players themselves now used to generate sound that is processed through a series of Lo-Fi electronics, haunted by samples of actual recordings. Sounds are chosen at random, slowed down, ripped apart and manually looped. Mike Hansen’s turntablism has resulted in recordings and performances with Canadian and international players such as Tomasz Krakowiak, Michael Snow, John Oswald, John Butcher, Kaffe Matthews, and Gert-Jan Prins.

Stephen Kelly works with sound sculpture and site-specific audio installation and do-it-yourself electronics. Interested in intersections between audio art and music he creates kinetic, viewer responsive audio exhibitions and has built several unique musical instruments. Stephen has recorded, produced, and released over 14 musical albums on his independent label Dead Bum.

Eleanor King works with site-specific installation incorporating elements of audio, video, photography and sculpture. Eleanor often uses radio as a medium for audio performance, she hosts a regular radio program on CKDU 97.5 FM in Halifax. Her work incorporates humorous elements to critique social behaviors, investigating consumer and tourist culture.
Tetsuo Kogawa introduced micro free radio to Japan, and is widely known for his blend of criticism, performance and activism. He has written over 30 books on media culture, film, the city and urban space, and micro politics. He has been teaching at Tokyo-Keizai University and demonstrating radio-art experiments in various countries.
Kurtis Lewis is a Mississauga-based DJ who explores the boundaries of house, jazz, afrobeat, trip hop, electro, and techno.

Matt. Miller currently resides in Mississauga and is a graduate of Humber College School of Comedy. He has performed at Yuk Yuks, Second City, and the Alt.Lounge at the Rivoli. He was recently nominated for Tim Sims Fresh Meet Showcase – top 20 comedians in Ontario.
Celebrating over 25 years of choral excellence, the Mississauga Children’s Choir (MCC) is a treble voiced choir of over 125 children from 6 to 17 years of age. Under the leadership of Music Director Thomas Bell, the choir has grown to include three graded ensembles – Training, Intermediate, and Concert. The MCC is dedicated to providing young singers with exceptional musical experiences through excellence in performance, music education, recording, touring and service to the community, The MCC has toured across Canada and in Europe.

Youth Troopers for Global Awareness (YTGA) is a group of very passionate high school students, determined to bring about awareness of global and local social issues through writing, visual art and theatre. Tired of feeling helpless about the injustices occurring in the world, they began writing about issues that they are passionate about, in the summer of 2006. Their ultimate goal is to spread awareness which they feel is the initial action that creates the reaction. Only through awareness of what the problem is, can the solutions come to light. YTGA recognizes the suffering and torment the unfortunates and underserved are going through and they dedicate their efforts to them, for if they are unable to speak for themselves, YTGA will be their voice. For further information go to

Event Management
City of Mississauga
Zainub Verjee, director, Office of Arts and Culture
Jennifer Kaye, manager, Arts & Culture Initiatives
DB Boyko, supervisor, Arts & Culture
Sandra Desrochers, public affairs specialist, Communications
Richard Stone, A.V. systems technician, IT
Jim Morley, supervisor, IT Networking Service
Steve Draper, manager, Information Technology
Alex Lo-Basso, designer, Creative Services
Susanne Carte-Blanchenot, Outreach Programmer, Art Gallery of Mississauga
Su-Ying Lee, Curatorial/Administrative Assistant, Art Gallery of Mississauga
New Adventures in Sound Art
Nadene Thériault-Copeland, managing director
Darren Copeland, artistic director
Hector Centeno, soundmap programmer
CKLN Radio
Mike Phillips, station manager, CKLN
Special thanks to Don Sinclair, professor & co-ordinator, Fine Arts Cultural Studies Program, York University.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Who was Robert Filliou?

Born January 17, 1926, Sauve, France
Died 1987, Les Eyzies

Robert Filliou, a member of Fluxus, the 1960's performance group that specialized in esthetic nonevents, believed that art didn't have to express itself in the form of objects. He saw it as a form of play that could even occur as unrealized notions. His minimal-impact works are apt to be made of string, cardboard and wood, the vehicles for stray, vaguely poetic ideas and images. Filliou's ephemeral works undermine heavy notions of what art is or should be.

Filliou said "I am not just interested in art, but in society of which art is one aspect. I am interested in the world as a whole, a whole of which society is one part. I am interested in the universe, of which the world is only one fragment. I am interested primarily in the Constant Creation of which the universe is only one product." For him, the work of art was a means of direct action on the world. Filliou attempted to integrate all the acts in life with artistic duty, "without worrying about whether the works are distributed or not": "When you make , it is art, when you finish, it is non-art, when you exhibit, it is anti-art."

Robert Filliou was part of the Resistance movement organized by the communists and became a member of the French Communist Party during the war; he worked as a labourer for Coca Cola in Los Angeles; achieved a masters in economics; had a dual French-American nationality; while working as a United Nations advisor he was sent to Korea for three years to help write the Constitution and take part in the programmes for economic reconstruction of the country; from there, he travelled in the Far East; he lived in Egypt, Spain and Denmark, where he met Marianne Staffels, the woman with whom he would share his life and his artistic activity. This exceedingly accomplished man and world travellere was not attached to any country and said of nationality " nationality = poet, profession = French".

In 1960, Robert Filliou designed his first visual work, Le Collage de l'immortelle mort du monde [Collage of the Immortal Death of the World], a transcription of a random theatre play comparable to a chessboard on which all sorts of individual experiences are expressed 3. In 1961, at the Addi Kôcpke gallery (Copenhagen), his first personal exhibition, Suspens Poems, was organized, made up of poems in the form of postal dispatches.In 1962, determined to remain outside the exhibition circuit, Robert Filliou carried his gallery in his hat. He became his own exhibition space: "La Galerie Légitime" [The Legitimate Gallery]. His works, gathered together in his beret and stamped "Galerie Légitime Couvre Chef d'Oeuvre" [Legitimate Gallery Masterpiece Hat], circulated in the streets with him (the idea is reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp's suitcase). He then met George Maciunas, the centralizer of the activities of Fluxus. "La Galerie Légitime" invited several artists to exhibit in it. This was an art made up of attitudes and gestures, rather than saleable works.

In 1963, with the architect Joachim Pfeufer, he created the Poïpoïdrome 4 project, a meeting place and centre for "Permanent Creation" located at the crossroads between two currents: action and reflection. There was nothing to "learn" in order to participate: what the users knew was enough. In 1965, with George Brecht, Robert Filliou founded the gallery "La Cédille qui sourit" 5 [The Smiling Cedilla) in Villefranche-sur-Mer, although it was usually closed because the artists were at the local café: "In my opinion, that's where you get your best ideas". They then founded "Eternal Network, La Fête Permanente" [Eternal Network, The Constant Festival]: "The artist must be aware that he is part of a larger social network, part of the "Constant Festival" which surrounds him everywhere and elsewhere in the world."

After the filmographical experiments of "La Cédille qui sourit", he made Hommage à Méliès [Hommage to Méliès] with George Brecht and Bob Guiny to express their delight in their wonderment at the simplicity of the old silent films and, with Emmett Williams, Double Happening, Contribution for Happening & Fluxus, a performance staged in the women's toilets at the Dusseldorf Academy of Fine Arts. with the König publishing company in Cologne, he published a "pluri-book", Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts:
happenings, events, action poetry, environments, visual poetry, films, street theatre, non-instrumental music, games, exchanges of letters, etc.

In 1971, he created "la République géniale"[the Republic of Genius]: people enter its territory to develop their genius rather than their talent. Research is no longer the privileged domain of the person who knows, but of the person who does not know. In Le Petit Robert Filliou, he defined, among other things, the principles of Poetic Economics for which a scale of values had to be worked out.

His films are above all made of humour, derision and random elements, closely linked to the spirit of Fluxus.On January 17th 1973, with the idea of uniting people of all times, he celebrated the 1,000,010th Anniversary of Art at the Neue Galerie der Stadt in Aachen. "Art must return to the people to which it belongs." As 10 years had gone by since Filliou had begun his "Histoire chuchotée de l'art"[Whispered History of Art], 1,000,010 years corresponded to the arbitrary date of Man's appearance on Earth. The artist was working on the search for the origin and proposed a new concept, "The Prebiological Genius".

In 1977, Robert Filliou was living in Canada, where he made several videos. It was not the medium itself which interested him. The artist, who never worried about creating "works of art", chose any material as long as it conveyed his ideas and thoughts, and as long as it linked the territories of geniuses one to the other. It was in this sense that he used video, not only to keep a record of his performances as many artists have been doing since the 1960s, but also so that he could circulate his work: "To contact the audience that we want, I think it's video that will do it". He imagined a "Video-Universe-City" 6 project as a means of propagating Constant Creation.

With his wife Marianne, Robert Filliou withdrew for 3 years 3 months and 3 days to a Buddhist centre at Les Eyzies in the Dordogne (France). In 1987, he produced his last work, Time is a Nutshell, made up of several walnuts emptied so that they could contain a few words. in December 2nd, Robert Filliou died, like a Buddhist, after seeking enlightenment through the texts of the Veda and through Fluxus.